Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Discrimination is fantastic, and you think so too

Discrimination is the corner stone of all human activity, and it always will be. Here's a short list of ways all of us, even those who swear they don't discriminate, do so every day.

  • What jobs are we willing to perform (Is the work beneath our abilities? Does it pay enough? Is the work something we are willing to do?)
  • What products we will buy (Is it a good product? Am I willing to part with my money for this product? Do I like the retailer or manufacturer?)
  • Where we buy said products (I don't like Wal-Mart, so I'm going to go to Kroger. CVS is closer, so I'm not going to Walgreens)
  • Where we choose to live (This is a noisy street, I want to live somewhere quieter. The rent is too high here, so I'm going to find somewhere else. I don't like the people that are living nearby, I'm moving on.)
  • Who we choose to associate with, personally or professionally (I like activity X, I want friends who will do this with me. I don't want to smoke meth or be around it, so I'm not going to have meth heads as friends. I need to hire a professional driver, so I shouldn't hire someone that's currently known to use mind altering drugs, legal or otherwise. I don't want to work for Employer X, because I disagree with their methods and/or products)
  • Who we choose as a spouse (I want my spouse and I to worship together, so I should find someone that shares my religion. I'm a socialist, so I shouldn't marry a capitalist)
  •  Where we will pursue higher education, if at all. (I don't like the faculty at school X, I'll go elsewhere. I want to coast through and get a passing grade without much effort, I'll find a school that provides that.)
  • What Television broadcast we will watch, or what internet sites we will read. (This show isn't entertaining, I'm going to watch something else. lewrockwell.com makes me feel too challenged, let's check on CNN instead)
  • Where we send our children to grow and learn ( I don't like this daycare, little Jimmy should go somewhere else. This place is doing a good job of filling Little Jimmy's individual needs, let's keep him here.)
  • How you spend your time (I don't want to go for a walk, I want to take advantage of the extra time to get caught up on cleaning my house)
I obviously could have kept going, and had to stop myself before this post became a bunch of bullet points. As you can see, it's impossible to engage in social activity without discriminating. Imagine having the right to discriminate being yanked away from you in any of these scenarios. You could be forced to purchase from supplier X, regardless of your individual needs. You could be forced to associate personally or professionally with someone that won't get along with you, or vice-versa. Maybe you end up having to use the services of a child care provider or educator that isn't conductive to a good learning environment. Maybe you're forced to watch Dancing with the Stars, instead of The Walking Dead, or maybe you lose the choice to watch nothing at all. Maybe for dinner tonight you'd like a side of potatoes, but a culinary diversity quota forces you to buy lintels.

Worse yet, imagine if you can't describe the criteria for what you are willing to accept, or what is disqualified from being a recipient of your resources - after all, to do so is a form of discrimination too. Whether it's qualities, aesthetics, reputation, experiences - we all have an expectation of what is worth our resources. Should you not be able to describe these things, you could easily find yourself in a repetitive cycle of having unfulfilled needs, even if you have the resources to get exactly what it is you want!

Even with all of this, there's a perfectly legitimate tool to counter discrimination, if one chose to use it: Persuasion.

Consumers don't want to buy your product? You can advertise, highlighting the great qualities of your product. The Prom Queen doesn't think you're worth going on a date with? Convince her otherwise, who knows how (any kids out there taking this particular line to heart, please make sure you know when to quit). Releasing your film on the same weekend that a popular franchise is going to be releasing it's film? Plead a case for yours. Disqualified from a job opening? Highlight the qualities that make you qualified.

If all of these fail, move on. Resources that weren't yours to begin with aren't resources lost anyway. Then, take solace in the fact that you're within your rights to do the same with every decision you make, every day.

At least, for now.

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